Respect all, fear none.
That’s the motto the Boonville Pirates football team has lived by since head coach Greg Hough took over the program in 2018.
Friday night on the road against the Eldon Mustangs, the Pirates took it a step further by showing no mercy, especially in the second half, by reeling off 35 points en route to a 56-26 victory.
The Pirates, winners of four straight since the loss to Blair Oaks in Week 3, improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Tri-County Conference.
Of course the next-two weeks will get a little tougher, as Boonville host the 5-2 Hallsville Indians on Senior-Parents Night at Gene Reagan field on Friday, Oct. 18. Then, on Friday, Oct. 25, the Pirates will travel to Ashland to face the Southern Boone Eagles in what could decide third place in the Class 3 District 7 standings.
Hough said no disrespect to the kids but if you want to look at things on paper, Boonville’s strength of schedule is not very strong. I’ll be honest and say it and that’s being real and I will be real with the kids and tell them, this is a big game for us to prove ourselves. It’s not life or death by no means. We are still going to have a following game the Friday after Hallsville. It’s a big game, though. We’ll prep for it and get our minds right and put our best effort out there, but yeah, it’s a big game.”
So to was Friday night’s game against the Mustangs, who won its first game of the season the week before against California.
But just like last week against the Versailles Tigers and Friday night against Eldon, the Pirates showed what it could do offensively by putting up over 300 yards in total offense and eight touchdowns.
However the first half was a little too close for comfort as Eldon trailed Boonville by just nine (21-12) at the half.
The Mustangs also hit paydirt first in the ballgame. After a scoreless first quarter, Eldon came back and initiated a eight-play drive-which covered 48 yards. Sophomore quarterback Dallas Hardy took it in for the Mustangs on a fourth and five call with 11:09 left in the half to put Eldon on top 6-0.
The Pirates didn’t flinch, though. After taking over on the ensuing kick off at their own 35, Boonville scored its first touchdown of the game on just three plays on a 10-yard run by Avian Thomas to put the Pirates ahead 7-6.
Eldon and Boonville traded scores after that, with the Mustangs hitting paydirt again on a 4-yard run by Kaden Dillon to make it 12-7 with 5:10 left. However, on the kick off,  Thomas took it to the house once again on a 75-yard run to give the Pirates the lead by two at 14-12 with 4:58 remaining.
Boonville never trailed after that and came back on its next drive for another score on a 43-yard pass from senior quarterback Nick Ferrari to Tramell Coleman to extend the lead to 21-12.
With the ball to start the second half, Boonville increased its lead to 15 at 27-12 after a 7-yard run by Thomas-his third of the game. Meanwhile, after forcing the Mustangs to punt on their opening drive of the second half, Coleman scored his second touchdown-this time on a 50-yard run to make it 33-12 with 6:20 left in the third. Hough elected to go for the two-point conversion after that and called Ferrari to keep the ball on a quarterback keeper, which faked out the entire Eldon defense.
However, the Mustangs also had a few tricks up its sleeve. Down 35-12 with 6:14 left in the third, Eldon rallied the troops with a 12-play drive, which took almost six minutes off the clock, and hit paydirt on a 17-yard run by Dillon to cut the lead to 35-20.
The only problem is that Eldon had no answer for stopping Thomas, who picked up his fourth touchdown with 11:38 left in the game on a 1-yard run to go up 42-20.
Thomas had his name called again on Boonville’s next drive, scoring on a 28-yard run with 8:03 remaining to push the lead to 49-20. Then, after holding Eldon on downs on its next drive, Thomas matched his five touchdowns from the previous game against Versailles with a 37-yard run with 6:17 left to extend the lead to 56-20.
The Mustangs added a touchdown late against Boonville’s JV when Dillon scored on a 2-yard run to end the scoring with 4:02 left.
Thomas, who has been on a tear since the California game, finished the game with 15 carries for 228 yards and five touchdowns. He also had one kick off return for a touchdown. Since the game against the Pintos, Thomas has rushed for 852 yards and 16 touchdowns. For the season, Thomas has 1,209 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns.
Coleman also had a big game for the Pirates with three carries for 62 yards and one touchdown and four receptions for 74 yards and one score. Junior Charlie Bronakowski also had his best game to date with four catches for 61 yards. Jamesian McKee had one catch for 11 yards while Colby Caton added one for 9 yards.
As for passing yards, Ferrari completed 10 of 15 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
After the game, Bronakowski said he thought everybody played well. “It was an overall team effort,” Bronakowski said. “We knew coming into the game that Eldon was very physical but I think the team did very well overall.”
Junior linebacker Lane West, who was a thorn in Eldon’s side all night, said the team started out slow but once they got their act together it was all over for the Mustangs. “We just had to quit playing soft and actually know who we were up against,” West said. “They shouldn’t have been that close with us in the first half at all. At halftime, we just told each other to hold each other accountable and be more physical and actually get after them.”
Junior Harper Stock had another good night with 17 total tackles along with three tackles for loss. West finished the game with 16 total tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack, while Josh Polk had 13 tackles and one tackle for loss, Nathan Platt eight tackles and one tackle for a loss, Greyson Mesik and Russell Potter also with eight tackles each, Tramell Coleman seven tackles and one interception, Colby Caton six tackles and one caused fumble, DJ Wesolak three tackles, Jamesian McKee, Spencer Steakley, Connor Acton, Nash McKenzie, DaWan Lomax, Peyton Hahn and Alan McCarter each with two tackles and Avian Thomas with one tackle.
Hough said although several players stepped up in this game, Thomas is still doing his thing with the run and that has a lot to do with the offensive line. “Avian is getting to the second level and third level without getting touched,” Hough said. “He’s doing some great things right there and I am proud of him because he does give the linemen love and stuff, but our team is only going to be as good as our offensive line. We have to keep progressing and getting better each week.”
For the game, Boonville finished with 11 first downs along with 205 yards rushing and another 131 passing for a total of 336. Eldon also had 336 yards of total offense along with 15 first downs.
Dillon led all rushers for Eldon with 28 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Braydy Hill had 21 carries for 90 yards while Hardy finished with 12 carries for 78 yards and one touchdown. Hardy also completed 1 of 8 passes for 29 yards and one interception.